League of Legends
MXP team
League of Legends

Drafting Guide – Picks and Bans in Pro League of Legends

If you know your enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles […]” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

When you are not in the top ranks of the League of Legends ladder system, banning Champions that you do not like to play against is a reasonable approach. However, once players enter the pro scene, proper preparation is at least as important as the match itself. If they do their homework, adapt and a bit of luck is on their side, the game may be over even before they actually join the match.

Follow the meta

It is imperative to familiarize yourself with the latest changes in the game, and the sooner the better. The earlier you analyze the information the more time you will have to adapt and develop a strategy. The knowledge of the most powerful, currently available Champions, counters and builds is key to success. All of this will influence your picks and bans during games.

Know your enemy

When preparing for a tournament or a fight with a specific team, study the opposition. Learn the preferred Champions of your adversaries. Watch their previous games, observe their strengths and weaknesses to exploit this knowledge once the fighting starts. Take note of the Champions they struggle against, remember their preferred bans. Understand their play styles, pay attention to their reputation and habits – learn as much as possible and adjust your play style accordingly.

Choose wisely

The mind games that occur during the pick and ban part can be as intricate as during the match itself. Most patches make some Champions clearly better than the others (this is why YouTube is abundant with analyses of which characters are OP, great, good, etc. with the most recent update). If you get to choose first, OP champions should be at the top of your list for picking. If teams are relatively even, just having the right Champion on your side can tip the scales in your favor.

If they go first

Play it safe. You can go with Champions that do not have significant weaknesses in the current meta, or you can go for a flex pick and adapt depending on the circumstances. Having a versatile character early is a reasonable choice and can confuse your opposition as they will have a hard time to figure out what play style you will assume. These characters usually do not have a hard counter. Flexible Champions also allow for a variety of synergies with other teammates, further adding to the enemy team’s confusion.

Win by exclusion

There are players who are very limited in their selection of characters. Banning one or two Champions your enemy is comfortable with can significantly reduce the team’s odds of winning. This is why it is so important to gather information on the opposition beforehand. Some players are known for choosing specific characters and banning is a great way of reducing their efficiency.


“…and remember – Special Tactics

The term Special Tactics jokingly refers to White-Ra’s quote in StarCraft (his strategy wasn’t actually very “special”, Google the quote for some funny esports history), but here I use it to highlight that sometimes it pays off to try unorthodox play. When you feel comfortable with a less frequently used Champion, you might want to surprise the enemy team with your selection. Not only will they have a hard time figuring out what to expect from your play style, but it will most probably be more difficult for them to come up with an effective counter. The less experienced members of the opposing team might feel completely lost if you and your teammates establish some unconventional synergy in League of Legends.

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